Finnish homewares retailer Iittala has opened its new flagship store in Japan.
Located on the first floor of a new development called Gems Aoyama Cross on a quiet side street in the Omotesando district, the new Iittala locations serves as both a retail store and café, a global first for the Nordic brand, making it a destination for Japanese locals interested in Nordic design.
Designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma, the space honours Iittala’s progressive Nordic design and heritage, dating back to 1881. With a Finland-meets-Japan minimalist aesthetic, store design features include a unique lighting structure with glass parts mouth-blown in the Iittala glass factory in Finland; subtle accents of wood used in the interior; concrete floors; industrial ceilings, and lots of light wood shelving.
SOLIDO typeF — a sustainable recycled material made partly of coffee beans — is used in the wall panel and counter unit in the store, highlighting the retailer’s reputation for sustainability. A calm soundscape is also played, alongside atmospheric footage of nature scenes in Finland projected onto a large white rear wall, just behind the hanging light display and the minimal concrete counter.
Also inside the store, shoppers will find Iittala’s complete range of glass and table ware collections for purchase, including the brand’s iconic Toikka birds, Kastehelmi glassware and Teema tableware.
In the café, Finnish delicacies will be served up, set to a design display of Japanese Chidori, expressing a respect for Japanese traditional crafts and the natural environment.
Founded in 1881 in the village of the same name (located some 100 kms north of Finland’s capital Helsinki), Iittala started out as a glass factory, before growing into a global homewares brand over the last 140 years. The brand first started retailing its wares in Japan in the 1950s. Outside of Japan and Finland, it has stores in several European markets.
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Today, the Iittala Glass Factory remains a hub of contemporary craftsmanship, combining its long-standing heritage of design with sustainability.